How often should I change my oil?

Do you know your vehicle’s oil-change interval? It many be longer than you think.

For years, American car owners have had the 3000-mile oil-change interval rule drilled into their psyches. Two powerful forces are at work keeping the 3000-mile edict so prominent in the public’s mind: inertia and marketing.

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How often should I change my oil?

At one time, it was common for manufacturers to recommend that owners replace their vehicle’s oil and oil filter every 3000 miles, but that mandate has eased over time as engine technology and the quality of motor oil itself have improved.

For example, in the case of the 2016 Nissan Sentra, the manufacturer recommends an oil change every 5000 miles. Over 100,000 miles, the difference between a 3000-mile and 5000-mile oil change interval may exceed $500.

In this segment produced by Chicago’s ABC 7 News, Consumer Guide Publisher Tom Appel directs consumers to their vehicle’s owner’s manual as the best source of information regarding regular maintenance.

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Note that there maybe be exceptions to the regular-maintenance schedules for diesel and flex-fuel (E85 ethanol-blended fuel) vehicles, as well as for cars and trucks that see severe usage such as towing and taxi service—so be sure to read the fine print.

Also note that manufacturers are increasingly specifying synthetic oil for their vehicles, which can double the price of a regular oil change.

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